As we sit here in the midst of an extraordinarily rainy spring time in Vermont, I know that I have the assurance this rain is going to stop at some point. We are not going to see our world destroyed by a flood as it was in the days of Noah. That being said though, this meteorological event has got me thinking about all of the ways that our current time indeed parallels the world in the time of Noah.
Scripture asserts that in the times of Noah, there was nothing good and quite literally no redeeming qualities in the human race. “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5, NIV).
Clearly, the problem of evil and sin is still at work in our culture. We have this tendency to rebel against what God would have us to do, and as evidenced by the world in the time of Noah, that was not acceptable.
I was thinking about this in the context of the current world situation with the Syrian dictator using chemical weapons on his own civilians. Obviously he is not the first political leader to abuse his position in such an egregious way, and I am certain that he will not be the last. However, that does not excuse the horrendous violation of the trust that the people of Syria ought to be able to have in their leader. They ought to be able to trust that chemical weapons are not going to be used on civilians, and the violation of that trust is about as evil as it possibly can be.
I think this is somewhat what is being talked about when Moses wrote about the inclinations of the human heart always being towards evil. It is not just that people were violating the commandments of God incidentally, but they were violating them in such frequent and terrible ways that they had reached the point of no return.
The lesson in this situation seems to be rather clear than for all of us who are in a society that seems to be falling apart at the seams. I think there is a good case to be made that many of the inclinations of the human heart are still pointing towards evil in a great number of situations. Thinking beyond just the situation in Syria, it can happen on a much more local level as well. We don’t have to be talking about an international incident to see the evil of the violation of free will at heart. We take a good gift and abuse it for the wrong purposes.
As a result, when we start to think about the days of Noah in relation to our own times, the problem of the heart has not changed. There is still a severe problem with our nature, and we still do terrible things to each other. A lot has changed since the time of Noah, but that fact has not.